Liam Talbot has taken victory in an action-packed opening race for the Australian GT Championship at the Red Rooster Sydney SuperNight 300.
The Walkinshaw GT3 driver emerged out front at the end of the compulsory pit stop sequence after running fourth in the early stages.
Talbot managed to hold on to the lead despite immense pressure from Peter Hackett, who eventually spun and left the former to cruise home with a 12 second advantage at the end of the 40-minute race.
Hackett maintained second, while Fraser Ross (McLaren 650s GT3) finished third after a double pass at Turn 2 in the final 10 minutes in low-light conditions.
The Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Adrian Deitz and Cameron McConville dropped to 11th at the flag after an impressive first stint from McConville which saw him momentarily lead the race.
Pole-sitter Hackett held on to the lead on the run through the first two corners, as Mark Griffith got turned around at Turn 2 by the Ferrari 458 GT3 of Dave Stevens.
Steve Richards, who started from the outside of the front row, managed to keep in touch with Hackett in the early stages, but the former eventually opened up a lead.
Hackett was the first to blink and brought his Mercedes-AMG GT3 into the pits for its compulsory pit stop at the halfway mark of the race as the CPS window opened.
Richards pitted his BMW M6 GT3 on Lap 13, as McConville decided to run a lap longer out front before handing over to co-driver Deitz.
Talbot emerged in the race lead as Deitz rejoined third behind Hackett, who began pressuring Talbot for the lead.
Hackett tried a move around the outside at Turn 4 but slid out sideways and had to file back in behind the Porsche.
Another attempt for the lead came a handful of laps later with Hackett putting a move down the inside at Turn 2 but running wide and letting Talbot back past.
The Mercedes driver then spun on the exit of the final corner in the closing stages of the race, leaving Talbot to ease to victory.
Geoff Emery (Audi R8 LMS GT3) crossed the line fourth after he and third place finisher Ross slipped past a sideways Yasser Shahin (Mercedes-AMG GT3) late in the race.
Shahin completed the top five, one position ahead of the BMW Team SRM entry of Richards and Ricky Capo.
Next was a trio of Trophy class cars, headed by 16 year-old Ryan How (Audi R8 Ultra GT3) from Nick Kelly (Audi R8 Ultra GT3) and Stevens.
Tony Bates (Audi R8 LMS GT3), who was turned around by the BMW at Turn 1, rounded out the top 10, while David Crampton and Trent Harrison won the GT4 class in their KTM X-Bow in 18th outright.
A front left tyre failure forced Scott Taylor into pit lane aboard his Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the first 10 minutes of the race, dropping a number of laps down.
Brett Hobson in the Hobson Motorsport Nissan GT-R copped a five second time penalty, which he served in his CPS, for a start infringement and finished 13th outright.
Engine issues prevented the Miedecke Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 from starting the race, while the similar example of Tony Quinn retired before the halfway point.
Round 5 of Australian GT continues with Race 2 at 1225 AEST on Saturday.
Results: Race 1 Updated*
|1||911||Walkinshaw GT3||Liam Talbot||Porsche 911 GT3 R||CH||25||42:33.8349|
|2||63||Eggleston Motorsport||Peter Hackett||Mercedes-AMG GT3||CH||25||42:46.5602|
|3||59||Total Oil / Opti-Coat / Logite||Fraser Ross||McLaren 650S GT3||CH||25||42:55.8035|
|4||1||Valvoline||Geoff Emery||Audi R8 LMS||CH||25||42:56.5352|
|5||777||The Bend Motor Sport Park||Yasser Shahin||Mercedes-AMG GT3||CH||25||43:00.0318|
|6||25||BTE Bulk Transport Equipment /||Ryan How||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||TR||25||43:18.1454|
|7||99||Industrie||Nick Kelly||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||TR||25||43:20.1543|
|8||100||BMW Team SRM||S.Richards
|BMW M6 GT3||CH||25||43:25.9323|
|9||24||KFC/Ctech Laser/Moveitnet/B&B||Tony Bates||Audi R8 LMS||CH||25||43:26.0885|
|11||23||Kentucky Fried Chicken||Matthew Stoupas||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||TR||25||43:35.9337|
|12||96||Hobson Motorsport / Hi-Tech Oi||Brett Hobson||Nissan GTR Nismo GT3||CH||25||43:39.0048|
|13||19||Hogs Breath Cafe / Griffith Co||Mark Griffith||Mercedes Benz GT3||CH||25||43:41.7860|
|14||147||Superfluid||Dave Stevens||Ferrari 458 GT3||TR||25||43:58.7272|
|15||188||E.A.T. Furniture||Rio Nugara||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||TR||25||44:04.3782|
|16||991||Perfect Auto Body||Vincent Muriti||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||TR||25||44:08.8978|
|18||50||Vantage Freight / M Motorsport||D.Crampton
|Reiter KTM X-Bow||GT4||23||43:02.8632|
|19||29||Haemokinesis / Trofeo Estate /||Jim Manolios||Lamborghini Huracan||CH||23||43:22.9214|
|Ferrari 458 Challenge||TR||23||43:35.4741|
|21||67||JMG / Bilstein||Jeremy Gray||Aston Martin Vantage||GT4||23||44:01.4635|
|22||222||Scott Taylor Motorsport||Scott Taylor||Mercedes-AMG GT3||CH||22||42:49.7945|
|DNF||7||Local Legends Beef Jerky||Tony Quinn||Aston Martin Vantage||CH||8||16:39.0692|
* Post-race penalties for Cars #100, #147